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Points of Order

Volume 555: debated on Monday 17 December 2012

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Last Thursday, the Secretary of State for Wales attended an event at Airbus in my constituency. He did not have the good grace to advise me of it. I know that he has one of the busiest jobs in government, but do you agree that he should advise Members when he goes on such visits?

Yes. Visits on official business are subject to the requirement of advance disclosure to the Member whose constituency is affected. The busyness of a Minister is not a material factor. Often, these very busy, senior and respected Ministers have a significant number of people available to help them. We will leave it there for today.

Well, I have not had one for quite a while, Mr Speaker. You may have noticed that on occasion Ministers make speeches outside the House. We have no notice of them until we read about them in The Telegraph, but sometimes they are important developments of new policy. We now know for a certain fact that the Prime Minister will make a speech on Europe in the new year, and I think it will probably have some policy in it. Would it not be a good idea if that speech were made in the House rather than anywhere else?

I think the new year will bring new challenges, and it would be wise to embark on them then, but not now. In the hallowed words of the late Lord Whitelaw, “I generally find that it is better to cross bridges only when I get to them.” [Laughter.]

I don’t know, and I cannot very well ask Lord Whitelaw, I am afraid, but we will have to make do for today.